Parisse leads Toulon past former club Stade Francais

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Toulon’s Italian No8 Sergio Parisse (centre) runs with the ball during the French Top 14 rugby union match against Stade Francais at the Mayol stadium in Toulon on Sunday. AFP

Ex-Italy No 8 Sergio Parisse captained Toulon to a bonus-point 38-5 victory over his struggling former club Stade Francais in the Top 14 on Sunday.

Parisse quit the Parisian club in 2019 after 15 seasons in the French capital after reportedly falling out with then-coach Heyneke Meyer.

Capped 142 times by Italy, the 38-year-old Argentina-born Parisse is a natural leader who has played in five World Cups and once again proved his worth as he led Toulon to their first win of the season.

The result left Stade floundering, winless and with no points after three games, at the bottom of the Top 14.

Despite the victory, Toulon coach Patrice Collazo said his side had not been ruthless enough.

“We left more than half the points out there,” he said.

“We weren’t realistic enough, albeit we started the match like [the previous] week, with a lot of intensity, putting in place everything we’d worked on.”

The flawless Louis Carbonel opened the scoring with a penalty before Argentina’s Facundo Isa crossed for the opening try, followed by Parisse from short range.

Stade suffered a blow with hooker Lucas da Silva yellow carded five minutes before half-time.

Two quick-fire tries in the second period by Thomas Salles and Aymeric Luc sealed the Parisians’ fate.

Loic Godener was eventually driven over from an attacking lineout in the 58th minute for Stade’s sole score of a disappointing evening.

And Toulon were to have the final word, American hooker Mike Sosene-Feagai crossing for his club’s fifth try, Carbonel bagging all five conversions, to leave Stade with some serious questions to answer.

Action on Saturday saw French champions Toulouse scrap hard to secure a narrow 17-15 win at Montpellier, while English fly-half Brett Herron produced a masterclass with the boot, claiming 23 points as promoted Biarritz stunned visitors Racing92 28-19.

A late penalty by Benjamin Urdapilleta saw Castres grab a last-gasp 23-23 draw at home to Bordeaux-Begles, and New Zealand coach Jono Gibbes got the better of former employers La Rochelle, last season’s losing Top 14 and Champions Cup finalists, as Clermont edged a 23-22 win.

Lyon ran in seven tries in a 47-3 hammering of Perpignan and Brive beat Pau 30-13.